Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

What Types of Soil Are Found in Kentucky?

By Jack S. Waverly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Kentucky soil is unique

Kentucky has three main types of soil. Each is important to growing different types of agriculture in the state. All three soil types have good drainage suitable for their respective uses. Kentucky has a type of soil unique to only that state.

Baxter Series

Look for this type of soil mainly on the tops of ridges and hillsides; Baxter soil can also be found on steep slopes or woodland areas. It can be as deep as 99 inches from the surface once it is identified. The topsoil is made of a fine, gravel loam and clay. Identify the subsoil by the red, sticky, gravel-like clay composition. Identify lower subsoil by the dark red and light grey clay color. The topsoil has a gravelly feel to it while the subsoil is firm, sticky and pliable. The undersoil has a gravelly clay feel to it. Look for grains, tobacco, fruits and vegetables to be grown in this type of soil.

Crider Series

Travel along the western and central areas of Kentucky to find this soil type. Crider soil covers one half million acres over 35 counties in the state. This is the official state soil of Kentucky. Identify this soil type by the reddish-brown colored silt and dark red clay within the upper to middle sections of the soil. Crider soil can be found to a depth of 100 inches below the topsoil. Alfisol soil is another name for Crider soil. Look for this soil to be used in pasture land and growing soybeans, grains, tobacco and corn.

Maury Series

Find this soil in the upland areas of the state. Identify the composition by the red-brown color on top, to a yellow-red color in the lower subsurface. The texture crumbles easily, and ranges from a silt loam upper soil to a grainy subsoil to a firm iron-manganese in the lower subsoil. Find this soil to 100 inches from the upper soil to the bedrock. Look for this soil type to be used in cultivation of trees such as black cherry and walnut, ash and elm; this soil is also used to grow coffee and hackberry.